What commemoration means to the post-Genocide generation

Catholic Church archbishop, Antoine Kambanda, laying wreath on the Genocide monument at G.S Kabare secondary school, which some 25 students and staff were thus far identified victims.

It is a Monday, April 28 on a day to commemorate Genocide against the Tutsi at Groupe Scolaire Kabare in Ngoma District, Eastern Province.

At the gate, the first banner you come across is that genocide ideology is unwelcome at the school. A few metres ahead, there is a monument on which names of 25 Genocide victims are inscribed.

On a wall of administrative block near the monument, stands a plaque saying that that the school was inaugurated by President Habyarimana on July 17, 1981.

First vice president of Ibuka, Egide Nkuranga, laying flowers on Genocide monument, in loving memory of those who perished during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

With the government that divided its people ethnically and regionally back then, Kibungo Prefecture, as it was known then, was one of the casualties.

The school, one of a few in the area at the time, mostly accepted Hutus from areas other than Kibungo.

Officials of Kirehe District, one of seven districts of Eastern Province, testify that they had no secondary school before 1994.

The Catholic Archbishop of Kigali, Antoine Kambanda, who presided over the event, said that commemoration of the Genocide was special since “people born after the Genocide are another generation”.

“Commemorating means a lot to the young generation who never witnessed the Genocide. It will make them combat ethnic divisions among Rwandans and build a stronger and more stable Rwanda,” he added.

The Archbishop, who is also the caretaker bishop for Kibungo Diocese, said that with the pre-genocide government not allowing all children access to education, it was an indirect act of killing children.

“Restricting a talented child’s education is bringing loss to the country,” he added.

 

Egide Nkuranga, the first vice president of Ibuka, the umbrella body of Genocide survivors’ associations, said commemoration for the young generation was a good culture, and opportunity for them to learn history.

More efforts to teach young people were needed “so the Genocide will never happen again,” noted Nkuranga, who also discussed that the largest part of post-genocide generation understand what the country went through.

“I myself saw the tragic history here in particular. This school was led by people who collaborated with the Habyarimana government. Even when you investigate you learn that there were Brothers who participated in killings of their colleagues.

“You understand that it was necessary to replace the bad with the good, and that is why priests here organise a day to commemorate,” he said at the event on Monday.

Prisca Mukamisha, whose family member was teacher at the school and was killed: “Brothers who were leaders of this school were very racist, they hated Tutsis. Antoine (the victim) was menaced many times, but because we were young, he would not tell us,” she said

“There were also meetings he was not allowed to attend. It moves us, we who lived pre-genocide life, when we see how our leadership does not divide its people,” she declared.

Statistics indicate that in 1990/91 there were 175 secondary schools with 26,521 students. Today, there are 1,700 secondary schools with more than 655,000 students.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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